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Jack Wright continues to be the greatest free jazz saxophonist you've never heard. But that is his calling, not his choice. He travels the land playing for audiences of two to two hundred, can teach a very inspired history lesson, or scramble some eggs. It makes no difference to him. Wright chose his path long ago, placing creativity above popularity, sound generation above melody.
Recently, more artists have come forward with similar ideas of improvisation. Together they are winning over listeners (sometime literally) one at a time. These two lengthy tracks, released as CD-Rs on Wright's Spring Garden Music label, feature the saxophonist with Chicago vocalist Carol Genetti and Milwaukee percussionist Jon Mueller.
Genetti's wordless vocalsthink of her as a singing Axel Dornerset the mood for both Wright and Mueller to keep this affair at its minimalist best. Genetti's murmurs, groans, fidgeting overtones, and throat singing avoid the screeching and shouting you might have expected. Wright either stuffs his saxophone with a cloth or plays against the fabric of his pants to keep within the temper of the two pieces. For his part, Mueller, playing an amplified snare, allows for his small gestures to keep the flow of this music continually moving ahead.
The attraction here, like the direction of more and more improvisation, is the subtle nuances that space and silence grant the listener's imagination. The slightest sounds now available on digital recordings can be the fizzle and pop produced by the artist. The inspired smaller gestures seem to have more to say here than most "improved" recordings these days.
Track Listing: Track 1; Track 2.
Personnel: Carol Genett: sound vocalist; Jon Mueller: amplified snare drums; Jack Wright: alto and
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.